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Status visibility: Controlling the supply chain with live data

Real-time tracking strengthens the resilience of transport processes

Mobile apps show where a truck and its freight are for each transport. The digital tools create new opportunities for shippers, forwarders and all downstream players in the transport process to prepare in good time for unplanned events and disrupted traffic. Instead of having to wait for the actual arrival, the actors gain the chance to actively control the transport process through Mobile Workflow Management. Status visibility thus creates the basic prerequisite for real-time supply chain management and reduces transport costs.

When does the expected truck arrive? Where do delays in transport services occur and how big are they? What consequences does this have for the subsequent processes? Such questions occupy supply chain managers when they decide whether to maintain the planned ramp assignment or to reschedule entire process chains. The planners even receive the necessary information in real time via status visibility – with data that is even generated automatically without the driver's intervention. Arrival monitoring gives freight forwarders, shippers and consignees the opportunity to steer the transport chain safely to its destination, even in the event of short-term disruptions to the transport infrastructure.


Status visibility displays transports in an intuitively understandable way

Supply chain managers can work particularly well with tracking information in transport logistics if it is displayed visually. On a live map, they can see where the vehicle and goods are located and recognise the effects on their handling and the planned supply chain. This is particularly intuitive if, in addition to the location, the status is also displayed via a traffic light system. A globally understandable system (green = "everything OK", yellow = "attention", red = "no further progress here" or "action required") directly signals to logistics service providers what needs to be done to bridge disruptions on the transport route. It also takes into account the estimated time of arrival (ETA) determined on the basis of route planning and driving and rest times. Accordingly, status visibility means receiving the following data in real time:

  • • Where is the truck located?
  • • By which route did the vehicle reach its position? (Historical lane)
  • • Which consignments are still in the hold?
  • • When is the next mandatory break?
  • • At what time does the truck reach the next stop?

Status visibility creates valuable knowledge for the entire supply chain

For a long time, it was mainly transport companies and freight forwarders who exchanged status information in logistics. But those only become particularly effective when shippers and consignees also have access to the status visibility of a transport. For them, the whereabouts of the freight are particularly important – after all, the sale of goods is usually only completed with their successful delivery. Live data also tells the consignee whether the freight will reach him in time for his further plans. And the freight forwarder can estimate whether the driver will arrive at the loading point of his next order on the same day after delivery. In connection with data collection and transfer, it is important that data sovereignty also remains with its originator, because in this way access by third parties not involved can be effectively avoided. Usually, this means that the transport company and the freight forwarder manage the access rights within the visibility software and determine who receives the process data, in what form and to what extent. To improve their supply chain management, shippers and consignees increasingly expect logistics service providers to make the data available for processing in operational systems - typically in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. This requires secure data exchange, ideally via standard internet interfaces such as REST API.


How status visibility provides stability

Even small events such as storms or rallies can sometimes severely disrupt transports and supply chains. Events with geopolitical significance even cause them to break completely at times – as the past two years have shown. That is why supply chain managers are becoming increasingly important. Their task is to stabilise transport processes, ensure their resilience and thus secure supply. Flexible and adaptable processes help, especially if disruptions can be compensated for by early information. Mobile app, real-time communication, live data and status visibility create the necessary conditions for a stable flow of goods. They play their part in ensuring that a traffic jam on the motorway does not turn into chaos in yard management and that ramp occupancy does not get mixed up. The earlier loading points learn about deviations, the more orderly and precisely they can reschedule and thus ensure that no losses occur.


Timely knowledge secures the yield

Supply chain managers work to organise logistics so precisely that transport goods arrive in a time window that is as exact as possible. Then the entire downstream planning runs smoothly. Decisive instruments for this are live data, real-time information and status visibility. Those create the necessary transparency with which the planners can adapt and readjust their transport processes, taking out the horror of unpredictable events, saving time and thus also money.

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